Clinical pharmacists want to keep current

This week, I enjoyed the privilege of teaching a session to our academic detailers. Academic detailers are clinical pharmacists who visit and educate doctors, encouraging them to follow evidence based prescribing practice. All too often, doctors lack the time to keep up to date with current literature. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies are busy promoting their products and their representatives can scarcely be trusted to provide objective information when they call on doctors.

My role during the academic detailer workshop was to a) orient them to the Sharepoint portal I have developed for them and b) teach them about current awareness tools. The purpose of the portal is two-fold:

a) a library of core readings and literature on the detailing topics

b) a forum to share knowledge and experiences – a community of practice.

At the beginning of the class, I asked how many were familiar with current awareness tools such as blogs and RSS feeds and only one had heard of these. By the end of the session, it was gratifying to see how keen they were to sign up for and use these technologies: the valuable potential of blogging about and sharing experiences; the idea of gathering all your updates (whether from Pubmed, the Weather network, your favorite knitting blog or E-bay) in one place is uhhm…cool or what? They were such a delightful group and they asked whether I would do similar sessions at subsequent workshops!  I look forward to working with them as they experiment with these fun and useful tools. It’s been very rewarding despite my frustrations with Sharepoint (for example, the user alerts are very clanky and there is no known way of reading authenticated RSS feeds.) While I have had to work with Sharepoint to develop the portal and blog, I hope to gradually make the case to move to an open source forum which has the required security capability.

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